Later this month I'll be heading across the country with a fine hedgehog in the form of our Chief XR Officer Shaun Allan, as we travel to the city of Manchester for a couple of days.
What's the occasion, I hear you ask? Well, we're heading to the largest marketing expo outside of London, Prolific North Live, being hosted at the 2nd largest exhibition venue outside of our capital, EventCity. With over 120 exhibitors and more than 4000 attendees anticipated, we're excited to reach out and connect with more businesses from across the region.
We're so keen on the event that, in order to get Shaun to stand in front of the Manchester masses and deliver a presentation explaining how brands can utilise immersive technologies in commercial environments, we've bribed him with a new Head of XR Development!
What's the story?
Titled 'Using Virtual Reality to shorten distance and increase footfall', Shaun will discuss the ways in which brands can empower customers to purchase from any given location via the integration of a VR shopping experience.
To help demonstrate this, Shaun will unveil what could be the star of the show in the form of an overview of some very exciting new work we're carrying out with Vortic, a virtual reality art gallery which allows customers to view and purchase pieces from anywhere in the world.
Drawing on experience from both this project and previous work, Shaun will also provide a brief overview of the challenges in and key considerations for designing such user experiences.
Using VR for Commercial Environments
The potential of immersive tech in retail is nothing particularly new. Global brands are already identifying the value in exploring and offering VR shopping experiences. As recently as this week, major retailer Walmart acquired a VR company through their tech incubator Storeno8, demonstrating the company's intent to explore how they can integrate virtual and augmented reality shopping experiences.
Indeed, the potential of XR in the retail field isn't limited to traditional AR or VR applications. Kantar, one of the world's leading research and insight groups, recently released a virtual reality solution named Perfect Category, which utilises big data to help retail brands design and roll out effective store layout changes in their physical stores.
It's long since been an industry standard to have a well-thought out mobile retail strategy, and we were (as usual!) on top of industry trends when we released our research into how the technologies set to further transform the sector.
But what isn't always recognised is that companies within industries such as automotive or travel, which often maintain a commercial or sales arm, can often benefit from similar solutions as those in retail do.
At hedgehog lab, we've been pretty vocal in our belief that XR technologies can transform not only retail, but all commercial experiences, as demonstrated by our blog exploring the potential use of AR and VR to sell cars.
Shaun's talk should help illustrate not only how the likes of Vortic will transform buying experiences in more traditional retail environments, but also expand on how similar implementations could alter customer experience and purchasing across other industries with commercial touchpoints.
Fancy a chat?
If you fancy joining us, Shaun's talk will take place between 2:30pm-2:50pm in the Insights Theatre on Day 1 of the event (February 28th). We'd love to see you there, so why not come see what he has to say?
Shaun's talk isn't all that's on the agenda, though. We'll also be manning the famed hedgehog lab exhibiting stand across both days. Located by the coffee stall, you'll find us on Stand #57, and will be available to discuss all things tech - not just XR!
We're also excited to use the event as an opportunity to unveil a customised workshop our team are to begin offering businesses. These will involve members of our team travelling to interact with organisations of all sizes, helping them to identify how and which technologies can be utilised to overcome challenges they're already aware they face.
If you do fancy a chat, you can visit our stand or get in touch to arrange a chat in more private surroundings. Catch you there!